I went to watch the official online stream of *Star Trek: OGAM and discovered it was 640×352 resolution and horrible compression quality.

I understand it was not shot in HD, but lowD? I'm thinking perhaps it's from youtube's earlier standard of 640×480 and letterboxing... so the DVD should be normal, right?

Before I put down money, does someone know for sure how good or bad the image quality is, especially compared with the stream version?

  • torrent it, then buy it, victory. – Himarm Apr 24 '15 at 18:02
  • Or torrent it, see it looks like crap, save money, still a victory. – Omegacron Apr 24 '15 at 18:44
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    Come to think of it, since this question is asking specifically about the recording quality of a DVD product, shouldn't it be on the Movies & TV SE? – Omegacron Apr 24 '15 at 18:50
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    @Richard appearing with a lecture on the evils on torrenting in 3..2..1.. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 24 '15 at 19:04
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    @DVK - It's bad, m'kay? – Valorum Apr 24 '15 at 19:23

I've just (ahem) acquired a copy of the full version. If anything, the youtube copy is actually marginally better, with improved colourisation and slightly better brightness.

From what I can tell, they filmed it with hand-held digital cameras (of the kind that you can see in the set photo below) so it's simply not possible for them to have produced an HD or even DVD quality version without major studio help cleaning up the images.

enter image description here

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  • Amazing. It was shot in 2006. I was using miniDV camcorders at the turn of the century. I think I got the Panasonic before 2003 which is DVD quality easily, in wide-screen anamorphic and uses 3 separate CCDs. We're not talking hi-def here: 720x480 resolution. The youtube stream is 640x352 and compressed so highly that it suffers. I would think that a DVD would, at least, not be over-compressed like the streaming requirements of the period in which it was posted. ... – JDługosz May 5 '15 at 7:57
  • If they used (older) high-end digital cameras that did not have anamorphic lenses or wide-screen sensors, I can see it being letterboxed not anamorphic. That would make it 720x352 within a 4:3 720x480 frame. My 2003 (?) Consumer grade Panasonic had better quality than a friend's pro camera, and he was wavering between the feature set of the pro and the anamorphic ability of a new cheap one. So why do they get reduced resolution and compression artefacts? – JDługosz May 5 '15 at 8:04
  • @richard Ahem, Ahem, didn't you scold me about getting a torrent version of all the novels that you, ahem, ahem, purchased, when I don't even use a torrent client, ahem, ahem. LOL – JMFB May 9 '15 at 5:38
  • @JMFB - Piracy is bad. – Valorum May 9 '15 at 5:52
  • Ahem, I know. I don't do it. Actually I really don't. I just pay for things I want, and do without that which I cannot afford. Of course I can afford things like movies, software, etc. – JMFB May 9 '15 at 6:23

You asked a question about a specific video, and the DVD quality. I'd trust Richard's answer as he's reliable, know's a ton about Star Trek, and somehow has a full copy of the video (ahem).

Encompassed in your question is if it's "lowD" or "Normal."

What I can tell you is that video resolution is just one component of whether or not the picture quality is good to the viewing eye or not. Lighting, steady camera hand, quality of the processing chip(s) in the camera, etc. can often times be more important then just overall resolution. I'm sure you've gone onto youtube for example, and selected a 1080 video with horrible picture quality, and watched a different video shot in 480 that looked better (clearer, crisper, etc.).

Refresh rate is also a factor in video quality which I won't go into here.

As for whether the DVD is better, there are several things to consider.

A standard DVD player, without upscaling, can output video resolution at 720x480 (480i). This was the original DVD standard resolution.

A progressive scan DVD player, without upscaling, can output 720x480 (480p - progressive scan) video signals. This came out second. Interlaced or Progressive has to do with how the lines are painted on the screen, whether it skips every other line then doubles back or draws them sequentially.

480i represents 720 pixels displayed across a screen horizontally and 480 pixels down a screen vertically. This arrangement yields 480 horizontal lines, which are, in turn, displayed alternately. In other words, all the odd lines are displayed, followed by all the even lines.

480p represents 720 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 480 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 480 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed following another.

The Upscaling Process:

Upscaling is a process that mathematically matches the pixel count of the output of the DVD signal to the physical pixel count on an HDTV, which is typically 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080i or 1080p).

720p represents 1,280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed following another.

1080i represents 1,920 pixels displayed across a screen horizontally and 1,080 pixels down a screen vertically. This arrangement yields 1,080 horizontal lines, which are, in turn, displayed alternately. In other words, all the odd lines are displayed, followed by all the even lines.

1080p, on the other hand, represents 1,080 horizontal lines displayed sequentially. This means all lines are displayed during the same pass. 1080p is the highest quality HD display format. There are newer formats now though followed by the letter "K."

All of these resolutions are simply a number of the maximum potential number of pixels that can be displayed. If you shoot in 1080 with a crappy phone camera, in low light conditions, with a lot of motion, as well as a jerky camera, odds are the quality will suck. Whereas with a professional SD camera, with three separate chips for color, good lighting source located behind the camera, on a tripod or with a professional camera man at the helm, etc. The standard definition video will look much better than the HD to the viewer in this scenario.

640 x 352 is normally DIVX IMO, which can give you a clean crisp video if shot right. I'm not sure if a 640 x 352 video displayed on an 80" TV will look good, but I assume you're probably watching this on a computer or substantially smaller set.

I just went to youtube and checked your video out. There's some noise, color bleed, fading, etc. but I set youtube to 480 and it seemed fine to me. I'm using a samsung ultrabook i7, with a 15" hd screen. I think the noise, etc. that I saw was in the recording. It could be that it was shot with tape(VHS, MiniDV, etc.) then was transferred from a tape to another tape. Each generational transfer with a medium like that creates noise similar to what I saw. But I don't think it's unviewable and in fact I thank you for your post as I didn't know about this video and am going to watch it now.

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  • I know all about what 1080p means etc. And the resolution of a standard DVD. I was watching on a 70 inch home theater, but at seating distance it appears smaller than this tablet at reading distance. It appeared (to me) hidious, with blocky compression artifacts. I'll look again and get a screen shot. – JDługosz May 9 '15 at 9:24
  • A screenshot would be helpful. I'd suggest though that 640 x 352 on a 70" screen will look blocky. There's just not enough information or pixels to get smooth lines. If you are using a projector you could try line doubling to see if that helps. If it's a 70" LCD or Plasma(I'm jealous by the way) I think you're kind of stuck at that low of a resolution. I'd try watching it on the tablet and see if you get better results. – JMFB May 9 '15 at 9:42
  • At seating distance, the screen is smaller than my tablet at reading distance. About the same angle-of-view as a phone, in fact. I'm suggesting that watching on a laptop (on your lap) is a larger apparent view. – JDługosz May 9 '15 at 9:47

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